Dune fans bemused by Warner Bros’ decision to delay Part Two

Dune fans have been left bemused by Warner Bros’s decision to delay the forthcoming sequel.

On Thursday (24 August), after weeks of speculation, it was announced that Dune: Part Two will officially be pushed back due to the actors’ and writers’ strikes taking place in Hollywood.

The news comes despite IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond stating just one month ago that reports of the film’s possible delay were “not true”.

“I feel quite strongly that it’s not going to move,” he said of the film’s previous release date of 3 November 2023, adding that it would be a questionable move due to the film’s six-week window of IMAX exclusivity.

This window would have seen Dune: Part Two be screened on IMAX screens despite competition from The Marvels, a Captain Marvel sequel starring Brie Larson. The film will now be released on 14 March 2024.

Fans are surprised that the delay was announced considering the film will probably not receive such a lucrative IMAX showing in March 2024.

Dune legitimately could’ve pushed for a billion with its previous date,” one person wrote, adding: “It had IMAX screen exclusivity for the entirety of the winter and next to no competition. Now it’s gonna be lucky to cross $500m.”

Another stated: “WB saw the success of Oppenheimer in the IMAX format and looked at the six week run that Dune Part Two would have in November and said, ‘Nah. We good.’”

“Feels unwise to delay it given the box office revenues for major Hollywood blockbusters over the last month,” an additional cinemagoer wrote.

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire has also been delayed, moving from March to 12 April 2024. However, the studio will push ahead with its big December 2023 releases: Wonka (15 December), Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (20 December) and The Color Purple (25 December).

Timothée Chalamet in ‘Dune: Part Two’ (Legendary Pictures)
Timothée Chalamet in ‘Dune: Part Two’ (Legendary Pictures)

Timothée Chalamet plays the lead role of Paul Atreides in the film franchise based on Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi book saga of the same name.

New cast members to join the sequel include Oscar nominee Austin Butler, who is unrecognisable as the fearsome Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen, younger nephew and heir of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgård).

Léa Seydoux also joins the cast as Lady Margot, a Bene Gesserit, as does Souheila Yacoub as a Fremen warrior and Tim Blake Nelson.

Reprising their roles from the 2021 film are Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Charlotte Rampling and Stephen McKinley Henderson.

Shortly after the “jaw-dropping” first trailer was unveiled at CinemaCon this year, Zendaya reassured fans about her screen time in the forthcoming film.

Zendaya in ‘Dune: Part Two' (Warner Bros)
Zendaya in ‘Dune: Part Two' (Warner Bros)

“She’s not just in dreams this time,” the actor said, hinting at previous complaints about her limited appearance in the first movie, despite the promotion leading heavily on her role.

Villeneuve has described the sequel as “an epic war movie” and “much more dense” than the first.

Dune: Part Two will explore the mythic journey of Paul Atreides as he unites with Chani and the Fremen while on a warpath of revenge against the conspirators who destroyed his family,” the film’s official logline reads.

“Facing a choice between the love of his life and the fate of the known universe, he endeavours to prevent a terrible future only he can foresee.”

The actors’ strike is currently in its second month after the 160,000 member-strong SAG-AFTRA union voted to join striking Hollywood writers who are fighting for better compensation and assurances that they will not lose work to artificial intelligence (AI), among other demands.

In a recent interview, Pose star Billy Porter said that he had already had to sell his house as a repercussion of the strikes.